Weekly Round Up

Yo!

yoWe’re not just being informal and/or boisterous because it’s Friday… Yo is the name of the app that has had tongues wagging over the past week.

It pretty much has one function – to let the user send a simple “Yo” to one of their contacts. As FT.com reported it has been the subject of much derision, with US talk show host Stephen Colbert mocking it, talk of security issues and even its founder Or Arbel admitting that one commentator had described it as “the stupidest app he’d ever seen.”

But here’s where it gets really interesting – for all the criticisms and sneering, Yo reached the fifth place spot in the US Apple App Store rankings last week, beating Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. On one Thursday alone around 4 million Yos were sent. It might not be the most critically popular app out there, but the commercial story is very different.

A Good Sign

google_gesture_0We move on from a seemingly pointless method of communication to a concept that could be a seriously important game changer in communication for millions of people.

Mashable reported how a group of marketing students at Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm have come up with an idea for an app that makes sign language easy to understand in real time. The signer would wear a forearm band that analyses muscle movements to recognise the words being signed and transmit these to the app, which would in turn translate the sign language into audible words.

As we say its only a concept, but their mock up branding of the app as “Google Gesture” looks really good and one could easily imagine this becoming a reality at some point. It would be a godsend to those not familiar with sign language and would dramatically reduce the frustrations that deaf people can experience when the former are unable to interpret what they are trying to say.

On Yer Bike

cyclemapBefore we know it the World Cup will sadly be over, but fear not – it’s summer and there’s always another sporting event around the corner. One of the next big ones will be the Tour de France and therefore we thought we’d pick up on a cycling related app that’s been in the news this week.

MarketWatch brought us news of CycleMap – a new app available on the Apple App Store that has been created by Canadians David Boudreault and Olivier Carbonneau. The free app allows cyclists to find the best route possible anywhere in the world – indexing over a whopping 1.3 million km of the planet’s most popular bike paths.

Sounds like one we’ll be trying out soon…

Weekly Round Up

With the WWDC and such like recently, the past few weeks have been fairly Apple focused. So this week we take more of a look at the other guys. It’s been quite a busy one for the Amazon Appstore, but possibly one that Google Play would rather forget.

Amazon Developments

Amazon-Appstore-logoThe week saw an announcement that BlackBerry is teaming up with Amazon to make its Appstore available on their smartphones and thus present users with a much wider choice of apps. The Toronto Star reported on the pretty candid statement from BlackBerry CEO John Chen that went along the lines of “why spend time, money and energy on developing our own apps when Amazon already have them” – or words to that effect.

And Amazon had another good news announcement, which by association would now be good news for BlackBerry customers too. The company has nearly tripled its Appstore selection in the past year and now offers 240,000 apps and games, available to users in nearly 200 countries, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Google Controversies

google play“…deadly permissions”, “serious security breach” were among the alarming words to be found in the headlines of outlets such as Tech2 and The Free Press Journal this week. They were referring to reports that an update to the Android version of the Google Play store had made it possible for apps to access users’ sub permission groups without notifying them, and that Columbia Engineering had used its PlayDrone tool to circumvent Google security and had uncovered a threat of user data and service provider resources having the potential to be stolen.

Elsewhere it was reported that Google Play had removed an app – “The Dawn of Glad Tidings” – created by ISIS, the radical group that has brought much bloodshed to Iraq in recent weeks. Google clearly acted quickly to remove the app when the issue was brought to their attention, but the Fox News line that it had already been downloaded by thousands of people and that old “Google has not yet responded to a request for comment” would have made for uncomfortable times in their PR department.

Weekly Round Up

World Cup Fever
FIFAIn case you hadn’t noticed, a little thing called the World Cup kicked off (literally) in Brazil last night. Welcome to a month of soccer saturation in every part of life… Seriously, from pubs flying the flags of the world to supermarkets bombarding you with product tie ins and clothes retailers working out ways to acknowledge the event without breaking any copyright laws, it is everywhere you look.

And of course the world of app marketing is not exempt. The iTunes App Store this week opened up a new bespoke section called “Football Fever”, or “Soccer Fever” in the USA. It is a pretty comprehensive round up of every app that the football fan would want. There’s the official FIFA app, and the apps of all the broadcasters covering the World Cup such as BBC Sport and ESPN UK. And for gamers there is EA Sports’ FIFA 14 and a host of other titles including Football Manager Handheld 2014 and a version of skateboarding game Skyline Skaters with added football and Brazilian imagery!

The Boy Done Good
Elsewhere we tip our hats to young app developer Sam Smith. The Guardian reported how Spacepants, a game developed by the 12 year old, has made it on to the front page of the iTunes App Store and has been featured as one of the “best new games” in the store.

Not too shabby at all for a game created in just two months – with such promise at such an early age, we are excited to see what Sam goes on to do in the years to come.

spacepants

Taxi Trouble
uberA few weeks ago we mentioned on here about the spat between London’s Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) and taxi hailing smart phone app Hailo.

Well, the capital’s cabbies are back in the headlines – this time receiving significant coverage across the mainstream media – over a dispute regarding another app. Uber allows users to book and pay for a taxi, however the LTDA and other representative organisations argue that Transport for London has not regulated this properly and that it opens the door for unlicensed drivers operating in the city.

On this occasion it looks like the drivers’ frustrations were being directed primarily at the Mayor’s office rather than Uber itself – the 30,000 vehicle go slow which brought parts of the city to a standstill would have been a headache for Boris, while the publicity surrounding the incident reportedly led to a significant increase in Uber downloads.

Weekly Round Up

wwdcIt’s been an interesting week in the world of apps but hey, when is it not? This week’s round up is of course all about the big thing in San Francisco… and we don’t mean Godzilla.

Yes, Apple’s four-day Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) wrapped up in California today and there was a lot to be said about apps at the event. It looks like a big win is coming for developers in particular: the ability to create app bundles will let them group apps together and sell them at discounted prices; they will be able to embed videos in App Store listings; and the introduction of TestFlight will allow them to invite users to carry out pre-release beta testing.

At a glance these features don’t seem like the most revolutionary things that Apple has ever unveiled, but be in no doubt that they will make a major difference to app development and sales. The bundle and video embedding functions are going to be a major enhancement to marketing on the App Store – the former offering value for money, the latter giving developers more opportunity to stand out from the crowd. And with these increased marketing capabilities it makes sense that the products being sold are as perfected and free of bugs as possible – that’s where TestFlight comes in.

How To Run A Kickstarter Campaign – My thoughts.

My Kickstarter Prezzy

IMG_20140527_152815

I took a quick snap. Clearly I had a shaky hand!

Last week I did my first ever public talk. It was about my recent experience of being in charge of a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for Lupo. It wasn’t nearly terrify as I thought it would be.

As you can see the talk started with Lionel Richie and it only got better from there 😀

Big thanks to Business Gateway for giving me a stage and thanks to everyone that came along and for the positive feedback. I hope it was useful.